It feels like the Texas Tech Red Raiders have had the most consistently entertaining games of this dumb little college basketball season, and even as a win slipped away from them at home against West Virginia on Tuesday, head coach Chris Beard still refused to go out with a whimper.
Beard, who worked as an assistant under Bob Knight during that coach’s entire TTU stint, got so steamed up with just a few seconds left in the 82-71 loss that he disregarded pretty much every COVID-19 safety guideline in the book over the course of a minute-long performance that led to an ejection. He screamed at a ref while not wearing a mask, did some sort of reenactment of the play on his team’s side of the court, and then, still with no mask, walked over to the West Virginia huddle to say goodbye to Bob Huggins. A lot of people found this kind of charming for its goofy intensity, but, while I can’t deny it added some drama, it also just oozes Ted Cruz vibes to me.
Afterwards, a fairly chill Beard clarified that he was pissed about this one particular foul with 25 seconds left, where he believed the West Virginia player was calling for a timeout.
“If that call is made, then we’ve got a chance to set up our press and still have a chance to play the game. That call sent a 90-percent free throw shooter to the line, and it’s gonna separate the game to a three-possession game,” he said.
ESPN didn’t show any closer angles of the play, but I don’t see any clear timeout signal like the one Beard imitated during his tantrum, and Beard is in a far worse position to make that call than the ref who blows his whistle.
“You guys know me, I’ve been in this league five years, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a technical,” Beard added during the postgame presser. “At (my last job in) Little Rock I think we got one. That’s not my deal. I know what bad officiating looks like, I’ve coached at all different levels. These guys are the best of the best. These three guys out there tonight, not only do I like, I respect and trust them. It’s just in college basketball sometimes you gotta fight for your players, and that was my decision tonight to do that.”
Fine, man. Just don’t get anyone sick.